Naamah’s Curse (Naamah Trilogy #2) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week 2

Today is the start of a readalong for Naamah’s Curse, No.2 in Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah Trilogy.  The details and schedule are here and below is a little about the book.

Naam2Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the Kushiel’s Legacy series, delivers book two in her new lushly imagined trilogy featuring daughter of Alba, Moirin.

Far from the land of her birth, Moirin sets out across Tatar territory to find Bao, the proud and virile Ch’in fighter who holds the missing half of her diadh-anam, the divine soul-spark of her mother’s people. After a long ordeal, she not only succeeds, but surrenders to a passion the likes of which she’s never known. But the lovers’ happiness is short lived, for Bao is entangled in a complication that soon leads to their betrayal.

The questions and answers are below (hosted this week by me) – be warned that spoilers may be lurking.

1. Moirin takes part in the archery contest – what were your feelings of her and Bao’s plans up to this point and what did you think of the eventual outcome?
To be honest this part of the story felt a little bit obvious in that it seemed clear that Moirin was going to win the contest and in that respect that things would not go as planned – otherwise it would have been a very short book.  It felt for me that Moirin and Bao really didn’t think this one through if they really thought they’d just win the competition and be allowed to walk away.  To me that never really felt like a real possibility.  Although, the alternative didn’t occur to me to be honest.
2. I’m very puzzled about the direction the story has taken with this whole abduction theme – what do you make of this part of the story and in particular Pyotr Rostov?
I really can’t make out where the story here is going to be honest.  It all seems about bashing Phedre’s religious beliefs in order to make Pyotr Rostov a name.  It feels a bit odd to me – almost a little lacking in focus or point.  I don’t mean to be overly critical but I do look forward to seeking where the story goes next.  Pyotr Rostov – well, he’s absolutely a hideous character isn’t he.  Awful to Moirin – abducting somebody so that you can make a name for yourself doesn’t really go a long way in promoting your religion in my opinion!  And he’s such a hypocrite – he’s clearly lusting after Moirin at the same time as berating her for such behaviour.
3. I can’t help making comparisons as I read between Moirin and Phedre and the storyline here – are there any particular things that have drawn your eye or given you pause for thought.
The two of them are so unalike for me but there are similarities in the storyline I felt.  Two things stood out for me as I was reading.  I couldn’t help but think that Carey seems to be going to a lot of trouble to demonstrate how unalike Phedre and Moirin are – in a small way it feels like she’s trying to answer any such criticisms that might arise in readers but for me it makes me think that Carey is herself thinking of Phedre as she writes.  I suppose it’s really difficult after writing such a well loved duo.  The other thing that stood out for me here was the way that this book relies much more on Moirin’s magical abilities.  In a way it feels like sometimes the challenges that present themselves to Moirin are too easily overcome by her ability for example to summon twilight – although I like that Carey has found a way to contain Moirin’s abilities and make her use other methods.
4. Any predictions about the next stage of the story?
Well, the two things that spring to mind are that Moirin is eventually going to be helped by Alexsei and I also can’t help thinking something will happen when the Duke is due to visit and Moirin is to be baptised.
That’s it for this week – feel free to join with the readalong, all welcome, or please add your comments.
Alli at Tethyan Books
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness

The Winter Long (October Daye #8) by Seanan McGuire. Readalong week 2

winter-longToday is week two of a three week readalong of Seanan McGuire’s The Winter Long (October Daye #8).  Today I am hosting the questions – and they’re a big mess which totally reflects my brain after reading the last chapters.  The Goodreads page link is here.  Feel free to join in or just jump into the discussion in the comments and be aware that spoilers will be lurking below for not only this book but for the previous books in the series.  If you haven’t started reading the Toby Daye series and you like urban fantasy then I strongly recommend this series to you.

Wow, what is going on around here! I think this week I’m more puzzled than ever not to mention the emotion! I’m all over the place. The questions are incoherent I’m afraid:

Firstly, The Luidaeg said that Toby’s mother had told her to beware The Lady of the Lake, but to be more afraid of Morgana. So we know a little more about the Lady of the Lake (I think) – but who is Morgana. So much seems to be wrapped up in the fairytales or myths and legends we have already heard of. What do you make of it all?

All these elements of fairytales and folklore that are creeping into the story really fascinate me.  Clearly the Lady of the Lake is all wrapped up in the Arthurian tales – I thought Morgana was Arthurs half sister and adversary in the old tales.  The Lady of the Lake is sometimes known as Viviene amongst many other versions of the name. Then we have this whole Snow White issue with Winterrose being Snow White – so not exactly the nice version of our fairytales though.  She makes use of the part of the story where Snow white sleeps to recover (or in the tale sleeps with an apple lodged in her throat) – I wonder who is going to play the role of Arthur – or the Wicked Queen.  Actually, I love that McGuire is twisting these tales for the purpose of her fae to infer that our stories have all been invoked by the fae living amongst us – just slightly different versions that those that we are familiar with.  I love this aspect of the story where McGuire builds up the legend of the fae living amongst us.

The Luidaeg – oh my giddy aunt. How could this have happened! The Luidaeg is the one who every one is afraid of – how can this have happened! Is her attacker so very powerful, is it because of the geas? How do you think the Luidaeg will react to Toby saving her life (well, bringing her back from the dead) and the Court of the Cats giving her a safe haven?

OMFG Noooooooo!  I could weep!!  What is going on here.  Who could do this to the Luidaeg.  I confess I don’t understand it at all.   I mean, obviously at the moment we don’t know who attacked the Luidaeg although it would be easy to infer certain characters.  And then Toby to the rescue – give that woman a cape!  I wonder what the Luidaeg will make of all her new allies – so, she’s obviously got more friends than her prickly demeanour really portrays.  I wonder how she’ll feel about all this warm cuddliness surrounding her – she’ll probably eat somebody’s head or something!  I’m hoping that she’s going to turn all badass – I want to see the Luidaeg in motion – put Winterrose back in her place!

So, as things have moved on it appears that maybe Simon, in a very odd ‘I will turn you into a tree’ fashion maybe did think he was helping Toby. When he was told the Luidaeg was dead he said that he was too late. It all points to the fact that maybe he was trying to help – do you think that is the case?

I really can’t figure him out – clearly he is still working for Winterrose isn’t he??  Is he scared of her too?  Why has she got everyone under her power somehow.  In some ways he comes across as crazy but maybe trying to help – like giving Toby the flower clues.  But then at the back of my mind I think was he helping or not – it seems that he keeps leading Toby straight to Winterrose!  And, to get back to the point in the first question – turning Toby into a tree – does that remind anybody of Apollo and Daphne – sorry just thought I’d chuck that in there!

Eira Rosynhwry, Evening Winterrose – (and can I say I NEVER saw that coming) what is she up to??

I really didn’t see that coming. It now makes me feel like I have to go back to the first books and read them again with this knowledge.  So, Winterrose is behind it all – she’s First Born – and why oh why would she want Toby dead?  Is this all about Armandine – is there a man between the two of them, why did they hate each other – did Armandine take her sister’s favourite dress and never return it?  I have no ideas.  But then, after Toby recovered from her fishy period Winterrose was her friend – or at least helped her, helped her back into the land of the fae even by cursing her.  I’m confused!

Finally, the First Born – of which Evening Winterrose is one – what sort of impact is this going to have on their children? Will it turn fae against fae? Why would one of the firstborn be hiding in plain sight?

I can’t figure out what Winterrose’s long game is. What does she want?  Was she involved with the Queen of the Mists then – why would she want Rayseline and Luna to be kidnapped? It feels like there’s a lot of bad blood between the First Born and memories are long.

How do you think Toby is going to walk away from this situation – people conflicted, Sylvester seeming to be in a trance! What next?

Why is everyone under a trance, well everyone except Etienne??  And is this going to cause some sort of rift between the fae – the children of the First Born – depending on who their First Born just so happens to be.

As you can see, I have questions upon questions and very little by way of answers.  Everybody – chuck me a bone now, come on, put me out of your misery!

Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey : Readalong week No.2

naakissToday is the second week of our readalong of Naamah’s Kiss.  Feel free to join in (the schedule is below) or to jump in with the comments.  This week the questions are being hosted by Susan at Dab of Darkness.  Please be aware that spoilers may be lurking below for this and future books in the series so please be careful.

1) How does one go about finding their destiny? Do you think Moirin is doing a good job of finding her’s? How did you find your own destiny, or have you?


I guess it depends on if you really believe in ‘destiny’ – does that mean therefore that you have a number of paths open to you or perhaps just one predetermined one?  Or do you believe that you’re born, you make choices and they lead you to your present position?  I’m more inclined to the second road.  I like to think I’m in control of my own life story and that I have some choice in the matter.  I think Moirin is so far doing a good job of setting out on her own adventure, it’s still a little bit early to say how well she’s succeeding about finding her destiny but then she didn’t really have much to go on in the first place.  I like to think that my future is an open book – I’ve still to experience a good deal of it and create my own adventures.

2) Moirin is pretty uncomfortable within stone walls and cities in general. Have you ever found yourself in a similar position, whether in the forest or at sea or in a large city?


I can’t say I’ve ever particularly felt uncomfortable in any of those settings.  The thing that affects me more is heights.  So I would be uncomfortable if I was on the top of a high building for example – particularly if it didn’t have any sort of perimeter boundary or wall – it would make me feel like I was going to fall off!  I don’t mind being up high, just not the feeling of being up high and without some sort of barrier between me and a long drop.

3) We continue to meet or hear about descendants of characters we met in the first 6 books. Who has caught your attention the most?

I particularly liked the cabin boy’s story about being a descendant of one of Phedre’s Boys and the Captain saying that virtually every sailor could make the same claim.

4) The Maghuin Dhonn. The Tsingani. Do you see parallels between the two or how they are treated?


Yeah, in that people are wary of both, sometimes afraid and also maybe a little judgemental – I also think they’re the scapegoats for everything and Moirin being blamed for the death of Cillan (spelling??) is a perfect example.  Obviously he wouldn’t have gone on such a foolish raid if he wasn’t bewitched!  And yet nobody thought to try and stop his notions beforehand.  I think the Maghuin Dhonn maybe suffer a little bit more in terms of their reputation as a result of Imriel’s story whereas the Tsingani’s reputation improved after the same story.

5) First impressions of the denizens of the City of Elua? Of Raphael de Mereliot?


Well, first impressions – and this is going off the few we’ve met so far – they seem to have retained that D’Angeline self awareness don’t they.  I quite liked the two ladies on the coach – they were harmless really and they even offered Moirin a place to stay which was rather nice considering they barely knew her.  Raphael.  He’s sort of sexy and dangerous isn’t he.  I don’t know whether to trust him yet.  He’s certainly using Moirin at the moment – even with her knowledge, he has a relationship with the Queen which seems to me could go horribly wrong and he’s definitely scheming – although what about I have no idea.

6) Morin continues her hunt for her D’Angeline heritage. What do you expect from Phanuel, her father?

Leading us all the way to the Temple, kind of tense and looking forward to meeting this elusive character, only to find Phanuel has gone on a walk about – Ms Carey – I’m looking at you!  How sneaky.  I’m not sure what to expect of him although I thought it was curious that he was so convinced that Moirin would seek him out.  He’s either quite canny or perhaps he has some sort of magical gifts of his own.


Dec. 5th Week 1 – Chapters 1-12, Hosted by Lynn
Dec. 12th Week 2 – Chapters 13-26, Hosted by Susan
Dec. 19th Week 3 – Chapters 27-36, Hosted by Grace
Dec. 26th Week 4 – Chapters 37-48, Hosted by Allie
Jan. 2nd Week 5 – Chapters 49-60, Hosted by Susan
Jan. 9th Week 6 – Chapters 61-74, Hosted by Lisa
Jan 16th Week 7 – Chapters 75-End, Hosted by Lynn

And here is the current list of participators:
Allie at Tethyan Books
Lisa at Over the Effing Rainbow
Lynn at Lynn’s Book Blog
Grace at Books Without Any Pictures
Susan (me) at Dab of Darkness


Kushiel’s Mercy (Imriel’s Trilogy #3) by Jacqueline Carey readalong week No.2


Today is week 2 of our readalong for Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey – what an emotional few chapters the last ones were – so much so that I may have read ahead a little.  This week, Allie at Tethyan Books is our host.  Anyway, here’s the Goodreads link and also the schedule is below in case you want to join in.  Beware of spoilers because they’ll be lurking.  Now, over to the Q&A.

1) Imriel visits a few of the Houses with Astegal. If you were to visit Carey’s Terre d’Ange, would there be a particular house you’d be interested to see?

I still really don’t know if I have an answer to this one – perhaps I could visit all of them and then choose!  To give an actual answer though probably Orchis – how could I not go to a house where the motto is ‘Joy in Laughter’ – it’s just so right!

2) The Carthaginians’ scheme was some of the most blatant magic that I think we’ve seen in the series. Given that there is a whole country of people who are not fooled, do you think they really expected to get away with it cleanly in the long-term? Do you think they have an alternative plan?

It’s the strangest scheme ever!  As to whether the Carthaginians will get away with it.  Well, they seem unbothered by the fact that there is a whole country of people who are not fooled in the least.  They’ve, effectively, abducted Sidonie – but Sidonie, her mother and her court and most of Terra D’Ange are not aware that it’s abduction.  She’s already married and could be with heir.  Meanwhile everywhere else is thrown into a state of turmoil and confusion with political conspiracies running amok – it’s been very effective in that respect and meanwhile the Carthaginians can coolly set out for war whilst everyone else is in a state of puzzlement.  At first I wondered why they just simply didn’t abduct Sidonie – but this is so much more clever because everybody back home thinks nothing is amiss.  I must confess that I have to question the strength of the magic though in that it can cause such a massive loss of memory to everyone – that’s some powerful magic isn’t it?


3) Barquiel l’Envers goes from a petty antagonist to one of Imriel’s only allies. Does this change your opinion of him? Do you think this adventure will alter his perception of Imriel?

Actually it does make me see him in a different light.  To explain myself.  I think previously I’ve just thought of him as ambitious, in fact similarly as ambitious as Melisande almost, and a person with very much his own agenda at heart (although that being said I’ve never thought of him as the sort who would commit treason).  This has made me look at him differently.  Yes, he doesn’t like Imriel – he sees him first and foremost as Melisande’s offspring and that doesn’t sit well with him.  These chapters make me think that whilst I might not always agree with his actions I think that he believes that he’s acting rightly and with honour.  I’m not really explaining this very well but I see his willingness to help by allying himself with Imriel as quite revealing.  He knows this is wrong and has to be put right.  Yeah, not doing very well here so I’m just going to stop – I know what I mean but I can’t put it into words (brain mash).

4) We finally see Melisande again! What do you think of what she has become? Do you think she still deserves execution for her crimes?

Wow – that meeting.  I had to go and sit in a quiet place when I went to read about it so that I could give it my full attention!  Carey out did herself I think.  It actually made me emotional reading it – so well written and what a final insight into Melisande.  In fairness I think Melisande is one of the best characters I’ve read in the world of fantasy and even in spite of knowing all the harm she’s caused I still found myself feeling sorry for her!  I’m sure she would sooner have me tortured than feel sorry for her but to finally witness the love that she has for Imriel and the sorrow she has felt at the lack of his presence – it was just brilliantly done.  Reading the chapters prior I was totally skeptical of her and thinking that I wouldn’t put it past her to have engineered the whole thing – just so that she could then help rescue the situation – and part of me even still wonders about that, but, even so she had such an impact on me – and the beauty of that for me is that it felt like Carey was showing me, as a reader, why Melisande is so effective and how easily she entrances people.  I’m totally in awe of Carey at this point!  And, as to whether she deserves executive.  Yes, she probably does deserve it.  Would I want that as an outcome.  No I wouldn’t.


5) What do you think will be Imriel’s key to change out of the form and mind of Leander? Do you think you would be willing to undergo such a transformation?


I actually read an extra chapter by mistake – oops!  So I won’t answer the first part of the question.  Would I be willing.  Yes.  Simply.  I would be scared of losing myself but I would also feel similarly to Imriel that I should be doing something.

The Schedule:
Oct.  9th Week 1: Chpts. 1-10 (Hosted by Dab of Darkness)
Oct. 16th Week 2: Chpts. 11-22 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Oct. 23rd Week 3: Chpts. 23-35 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Oct. 30th Week 4: Chpts. 36-49 (Hosted by Emma Wolf)
Nov. 6th Week 5: Chpts. 50-62 (Hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog)
Nov. 13th Week 6: Chpts. 63-75 (Hosted by Tethyan Books)
Nov. 20th Week 7: Chpts. 76-END (Hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow)

Ashes of Honor (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire readalong week #2

ashesofhonorToday is week two of our readalong of Ashes of Honour (October Daye #6) by Seanan McGuire  The schedule is over on Goodreads and this week I am hosting the questions.  With the customary warning about potential spoilers lets get straight to the A&A.

The court of cats is once again visited following yet more disaster. What did you make of the visit this time and the way Toby was received?

It was very strange wasn’t it.  Like some of the cats are starting to find out that trouble seems to follow Toby – or at least that’s the way they perceive it.  It’s also a little odd because it’s not that long since Toby was helping to retrieve lost children on behalf of so many of the fae, including the cats, and seemed to have won their favour as a result.  Memories are short I suppose.  I think that we’re seeing a bit of prejudice leaking out now – maybe it’s okay for Toby to be befriended by the Court of Cats but not for their own ruler to be so openly admiring of her?

What do you think of Toby’s chances of being able to stop Chelsea – or to use the potion that Walther has concocted?

This is an odd one – Chelsea seems to be a bit of a whirling dervish so just how easy it’s going to be to apply this potion remains to be seen.  I also have a bad feeling about it and hope it doesn’t go horribly wrong – like maybe Toby ends up with her powers absent for a year and a day!!

I’m very curious about why the policeman is tailing Toby? Any ideas about why?

This puzzles me.  Either he’s very curious after having seen Toby at the centre of a couple of missing children scenarios or he’s starting to suspect that something is a bit ‘off’ about her – I suppose theres also the possibility that he could be something different himself or, finally, maybe it’s all going to tie in with the whole ‘humans becoming more aware of the fae’ theme.

We once again find ourselves at Tamed Lightning and meet up with Li Qin. What were your feelings on revisiting, did anything stand out and what did you make of Li Qin. Also we learnt more about the world of Faerie. Discuss.

I really enjoyed revisiting Tamed Lightning and would like to think that this whole revisiting places we’ve already been is going to be a regular occurrence.  Li Qin seems very interesting.  I like the way she immediately stepped in to help Toby out.  I feel very sad for her to be honest because she’s obviously, and rightly, so sad and lonely.  I was really interested in the whole world building of faerie.  I’m not going to pretend that I fully understand who Faerie works just yet but I was particularly interested in the four realms – Land, Undersea, Oversky  and Fire – which is like the four elements, earth, water, air and fire and I was curious if added to this will be the fifth element added – spirit or aether?

Duchess Riordan seems to be involved somehow with Chelsea’s disappearance or at least to know something. Any guesses as to her motives or who she was talking to?

I’m drawing a blank although she seemed to be talking to a male on the phone.  I’m not sure why Riordan would become involved – in fact I’m not sure why any of the fae would take part in this if it could potentially undermine the fabric of Faerie.  I can only assume that Riordan has political motivation and ambitions of more rule.

What were your impressions of Dreamer’s Glass and do you think there was a reason why we got to pay particular attention to it’s coat of arms?

It’s a crazy place isn’t it.  Tacky much!!  OMG Riordan is so pleased with herself as well openly looking for compliments about her decorating.  The coat of arms was curious to me – I wondered why it was being paid attention to – I always can’t help thinking there must be a reason and obviously it brings to mind Sleeping Beauty – both in terms of the Lady of Shallot and the Spindle!

Finally, we should talk about Toby and Tybalt. There was that kiss after all. What are your feelings/predictions in respect to the two of them?

Well, it feels like the two of them are finally taking small steps to acknowledge that there is something between them.  That being said, this isn’t going to be easy is it!  Ohh, but that kiss!!!!


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